Author Archive

Labor Day weekend library hours

August 26th, 2014 No comments

This weekend the Delaware campus law library will be on shorter hours for the Labor Day holiday. Please note we will be closed on Monday.

  •  August 29             8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • August 30              9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • August 31              12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • September 1           CLOSED

Enjoy your holiday weekend! A complete list of library hours is on our website.

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

Delaware passes law governing digital assets

August 20th, 2014 No comments

Delaware recently passed HB 345, the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act. Here is the bill itself and here is the legislative history. The new law is based on the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

There’s been a lot of coverage of the new law on technology news sites, many of which don’t seem to understand it. Some of the better articles can be found on:

Categories: Delaware Tags: ,

Welcome back to the law library

August 19th, 2014 No comments

Widener Law LibraryIt’s another new school year! We’re happy to see our new and returning students back in the law library. Please stop by for studying or research. Why not check out some of our study aids? We have plenty of computers, carrels, tables and comfortable chairs for studying. Our reference librarians are waiting to help you, so please ask us any questions you may have.

Mobile printing now available

August 15th, 2014 No comments

You can now send print jobs to the law library printers from your laptop, smartphone, tablet or other mobile device. You can send print jobs to the printers at the Hexes on the second floor of the library or to the Xerox copiers on the first or second floor.

There are 3 options for printing


Email the document you want to print as an attachment to the address for the printer you would like to use: Both Hex printers – 2nd Floor Library All Library & Lab Xerox copiers (single side printing) All Library & Lab Xerox copiers (double sided printing)

Web printing

Go to and follow the instructions. You can print a file or webpage.

Mobile App

There are PrinterOn mobile printing apps available for many devices. Get the app for your device at

The age of consent and rape reform in Delaware

July 7th, 2014 No comments
tatnall street

Children playing next to a reputed house of prostitution on Tatnall Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 1910.

In February 1889 a group of women activists presented a petition to the Delaware General Assembly with 10 yards of signatures of Delaware residents. This petition, presented by the Delaware Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, called for the state legislature to raise the age of consent. At that time under Delaware law the age of consent was a shockingly low seven. (W.C.T.U. Petition, Every Evening, February 12, 1889).

Sometimes misunderstood to refer to marriage, the age of consent in question actually had to do with the law of rape, similar to today’s statutory rape laws. Under English common law, which was adopted by Delaware and the other states, rape was defined as ”the carnal knowledge of a woman forcibly and against her will.” 2 William Blackstone, Commentaries *210.

In order to convict a man of rape, both force and lack of consent had to be proved, except in the case of a girl under the age of consent who was considered to not know right from wrong and was therefore incapable of consenting. The traditional common law age of consent was 10 or 12. In Delaware the age of consent was 10 until 1871 when it was lowered to seven. 14 Del. Laws 105 (1871) The same law instituted the death penalty for sex with a girl below the age of consent, before that the penalty had been up to 10 years in prison. It was probably the increase in the penalty which caused the age to be lowered, although reticence at the time to even discuss rape, means there is little mention of the change in law in the newspapers of 1871 and no legislative history.

blacklist of states arena

In 1895 Delaware still topped The Arena’s list of states with a low age of consent.

In the 1880s a nationwide campaign began to raise the age of consent. This campaign was led by the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Nowadays often dismissed as a group of humorless do-gooders who didn’t want anybody to drink, in the 19th century the WCTU was the largest and most powerful women’s group in the country. Besides their interest in the prohibition of alcohol, they also campaigned against social problems such as prostitution and violence against women, as well as promoting the rights of women to own property and vote. At the 1886 annual meeting of the Delaware WCTU, Delaware Union president Annie H. Martindale told fellow members that “the laws of our own State have drawn upon us the condemnation of shocked and surprised women throughout the country, the age of legal consent being only seven years, the lowest probably of any state in the Union. We must join our sisters in this holy work.”

By 1889 the Delaware WCTU had spurred the Delaware General Assembly to act to reform the age of consent law. The WCTU’s petition asked for the age of consent to be raised to 18. As in most states, the men of the Delaware General Assembly were not willing to go that far. They compromised by not technically raising the age of consent, but by passing a law defining a new crime, making it a misdemeanor to use or procure a female under the age of 15 for the purpose of sexual intercourse or to employ a female under 15 in a house of prostitution. 18 Del. Laws 686 (1889) That age was eventually raised to 18.

Technically, the age of consent in the Delaware rape law remained seven until 1972, when the state completely overhauled its criminal code, replacing the old common law definition of crimes with a modern criminal code. The laws relating to rape and sexual assault have continued to be reformed. As recent controversies over sexual assault on campus have shown the question of consent as a defense to the charge of rape is still a matter for activism and reform today.

Photo sources:

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
14 The Arena 418 (1895)


Delaware Criminal Code with Commentary. (State of Delaware, 1973)

Leslie K. Dunlap. The Reform of Rape Law and the Problem of White Men: Age-of-Consent Campaigns in the South, 1885-1910, in Sex, Love, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History (Martha Hodes ed. 1999)

Jane Larson, ‘Even A Worm Will Turn at Last’: Rape Reform in Late Nineteenth-Century America, 9 Yale J. L. & Human. 1 (1997)

Mary Odem, Delinquent Daughters: Protecting and Policing Adolescent Female Sexuality in the United States, 1885-1920 (1995)

Aaron M. Powell, et al. The Shame of America—The Age Of Consent Laws in the United States: A Symposium, 11 The Arena 192 (1895)

Law library website will be down for scheduled maintenance

June 12th, 2014 No comments

The law library website will be down for scheduled maintenance of Widener Law’s website, 12:00 AM to 6:00 AM on Friday, June 13th. The website will be unavailable during this time.

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

CALI website will be upgraded this month

June 11th, 2014 No comments

CALI is upgrading their website. Their website and lessons will be unavailable tomorrow, June 12th from 8 AM to 5 PM. For more information please see CALI’s website.

UPDATE: CALI is postponing their update so the site will be working tomorrow. They’ll be doing the update sometime this month, so check their website for updates.

Categories: Databases Delaware Tags:

Library closed Memorial Day weekend

May 22nd, 2014 No comments

The Delaware campus law library will be closed Memorial Day weekend, May 24th through 26th. We will reopen on Tuesday May 27th.

For a complete list of library hours see our webpage.

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

Library closed this weekend for graduation

May 16th, 2014 No comments

The Delaware campus law library will be closed this weekend for graduation. We will reopen on Monday, May 19th. More information on library hours if available on our webpage.

Categories: LIC Delaware Campus News Tags:

Trial by combat in Delaware

May 13th, 2014 No comments

This week’s Game of Thrones episode has put the medieval practice of trial by combat in the spotlight. Gawker and Above the Law both have interesting articles on the practice. Although this Time article claims trial by combat has never happened in the United States, it was requested once in Delaware. In McNatt v. Richards, a 1983 case in Delaware’s Court of Chancery, defendant Freedom Church of Revelation, challenged the plaintiff to trial by combat to the death. Vice Chancellor Maurice A. Hartnett, III was not amused and admonished the defendant that “… challenge of trial by combat to death is not a form of relief this Court, or any court in this country, would or could authorize. Dueling is a crime and defendant is therefore cautioned against such further requests for unlawful relief.”

In case you’re wondering why a pro se defendant would file a “rambling tirade which asserts various preposterous allegations and claims” challenging someone to trial by combat, the answer is of course, tax scam.